Memo of Understanding – Gonzaga, Fulcrum Foundation, and OCS

Catholic schools partnership targets service to diverse learners

Archdiocese of Seattle Catholic Schools, Gonzaga University, Fulcrum Foundation GU-FF-OCS MOU Poster

The Archdiocese of Seattle Office for Catholic Schools is joining with Gonzaga University’s School of Education and the Fulcrum Foundation to increase opportunities for students training to serve diversified learners. The joint initiative is designed to create a “teacher-talent pipeline” to increase accessibility for diverse learners from prekindergarten to 12th grade attending western Washington Catholic schools.

“We want to invite future teachers into our schools to strengthen confidence and expertise as we strive to serve diversified learners,” said Sandra Barton Smith, assistant superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle. “We have other partnerships for leadership and continuing education. What makes this partnership different is that it focuses on future teachers coming into our system serving academically diverse students.”

The partnership is scheduled to launch in the 2018-19 school year. Barton Smith described the partnership as a “win-win-win” because it promotes the strategic long-range plan for Archdiocese of Seattle Catholic schools, is consistent with the priorities of Gonzaga’s School of Education and helps fulfill the Fulcrum Foundation’s mission to strengthen Catholic schools.

“Many schools and teachers in our system are growing in our capacity to serve diverse learners, and many of our teachers were educated and trained at Gonzaga University,” she said. “So this is a continuation of an ongoing collaboration with the support of the Fulcrum Foundation and its commitment to provide tuition and other financial assistance through its Leadership Grant Program.”

Diverse learners include a spectrum ranging from students who are highly capable to those with profound needs due to physical, intellectual, emotional or behavioral disabilities. “As we support students with special needs, we’re lifting up all students in that classroom,” Barton Smith said.

The partnership is designed for students currently or soon-to-be enrolled in the Gonzaga University School of Education to assist them in completing internships, student teaching and other licensing requirements. Barton Smith said details of the program will be developed over the next year as the three entities consult with their stakeholders to establish elementary and secondary diversified learners’ learning lab schools.

“At this point we’re trying to get on the radar of the GU student teachers so they know that this opportunity exists,” she said. “Many of our current teachers and leaders in both general and special education have benefited from Gonzaga’s programs, and these teachers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, bring a spirit of inclusion and service to our system of schools. These teachers are on fire.”

Announcing a Memo of Understanding established between Gonzaga University, School of Education, The Office for Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Seattle, and Fulcrum Foundation, Seattle, Washington.

Gonzaga University, School of Education, Office for Catholic Schools, and Fulcrum Foundation partnership will create a PreK – 12 talent pipeline for OCS teachers by identifying opportunities for GU students currently or soon-to-be enrolled in the School of Education to complete student teaching requirements, and other practicums, internships, and licensing requirements in Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle. In addition to practical support through internships and placement, the students accepted to the program through this newly formed partnership will also have access to tuition and professional development dollars through the Fulcrum Foundation Leadership Grant Program.

In support of the strategic long-range plan for the Archdiocese of Seattle, and consistent with the priorities of the Gonzaga University, School of Education, this shared partnership shall consult and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to establish regional elementary and secondary lab schools and /or training centers that are positioned and resourced to increase accessibility for diversified learners currently exemplified at many Catholic schools in western Washington.

For more information, contact: Sandra Barton Smith 206-382-4842.Photo credit: Katie Niemer Photography
Founded in 2002, the Fulcrum Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that leverages financial assistance to support and strengthen Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle primarily through tuition assistance grants, school partnership grants, and grants for transformational leaders.
The Office for Catholic Schools fosters collaborative communities among all shareholders through high quality professional development to positively impact student learning and develop Christ-like servant-leaders for today’s world. We work in the spirit of communion, solidarity and subsidiarity.
Gonzaga University is focused on the goals and passions of its students. Through skilled teaching from expert professors, a proud Jesuit liberal arts tradition, and a supportive, yet challenging community, GU helps students realize immense possibilities. At Gonzaga, students become the innovative, compassionate, and courageous people the world needs today. Situated along the Spokane River near downtown Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga is routinely recognized among the West’s best comprehensive regional universities. The university offers 75 fields of study, 26 master’s degrees, doctorate degrees in leadership studies and nursing, and a juris doctor degree through the School of Law. Learn more at